Harrison Bader doesn’t see getting draft as just completion of a lifelong dream but the start of one.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected the former Horace Mann and current Florida University baseball star in the third round and 100th overall last week in in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Bader saw the news in school’s gym after his team’s practice in preparation for the College Baseball World Series. After the realizing sunk in, Bader’s mind began to think about what lies ahead.
“My excitement shifted from, ‘Oh my God I can’t believe I got drafted,’ to ‘Oh my God I can’t wait to get ready to start taking care of business in pro ball.”
The Cardinals were one of the organizations Bader, the Gators left fielder, spoke with prior to the draft. He couldn’t be happier to be selected by a organization that has won 11 World Series titles, including one in 2012 and have a history of developing young players.
“They have had a tremendous amount of incredible players come through and still do,” Bader said. “To be a part of something so special and something as winning as the Cardinals have been really speaks for itself.”
His journey couldn’t have taken a much different route out of high school. Bader de-committed from Pittsburg, picked Maryland before head coach Erik Bakich left for Michigan, only to end up at Florida after it lost two outfielders in the 2012 draft. Bader went on to be a star with the Gators. The experience has been a humbling one.
“To be where I am at two years later, I wouldn’t believe you,” Bader said.
The junior has let his game do plenty of talking during his career a Florida. Last year as a sophomore her led the squad with a .337 average, while posting 24 RBI, 27 runs scored and15 walks. Bader swiped 13 bases and only made one error in the field. This has seen a rise in his power number. He is batting .292 with a career-high 15 home runs and 61 RBI to go along with14 doubles. Bader has yet to commit and error. The power surge has come naturally, without a change of approach at the plate.
“The power numbers honestly took care of themselves,” Bader said. “My approach to the plate has always been the same. I thin the power numbers came with a little experience and being more comfortable in the SEC.”
Bader’s immediate goal is to try to help Florida win a national championship and cap what has already been an amazing year. Long term, he has much grander plans with the Cardinals.
“I have every intention of proving them right and working everyday to make a difference in a major league lineup,” Bader said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”